From: "Rex Gatch"
Subject: (urth) Dinner & the Long Sun Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 12:13:01 -0400 Thanks for the replies. I might have also asked what are the similarities between Harry Harrison and Gene Wolfe. When you see needlers, chems, taluses and floaters you might be tempted to think you were in a Stainless Steel Rat book. His use of 50's / 60's sf standards has always complicated my reading of the LS books. But back to Dinner at Deviants Palace. If you haven't read the book then there will be some major spoilers here. SPOILER SPACE It is I think the first Powers book I read. Its set in a post Apocalyptic California unlike most of his later output which is set in the present or past. It has several typical Powers themes - the hero becomes progressively injured throughout the book, it is set in California, the fantastic becomes real etc. I'll try and summarise the plot, as best I can. The protagonist is a professional musician who used to be a Redeemer ( some one who rescues and deprogrammes members of the Jaybush Cult). He is persuaded out of retirement in order to try and redeem the girl with which he was once in love. The book follows his quest to find the girl during which he finds out that the Jaybush Cult is far more sinister and powerful than it seems. The Jaybush cult is run by the Jaybush who is " a psychic vampire from outer space" . Jaybush recruits people into the cult in two ways, firstly by preying on vulnerable people in the fashion of modern day cults and secondly through a drug called Blood. Blood is a reddish brown powder. The book also features Hemogoblins who are vampiric creatures who take on the characteristics of the human on whom they feed. There are also Trash Men who are humans reduced almost to the point of death by the cult, who are then Cyborged to extend their usefulness. So there is the summary which I'm afraid doesn't do much justice to the book. When I reread it after reading the LS books the drug Blood really leapt out at me. Its affects are not identical to Rust - it is more of a soporific than a stimulant. It turns out that Blood is made from the blood of the most degenerate members of the cult whose minds and spirit have been consumed by the Jaybush through his perverted Communion. Rust is never really explained in the LS books. It may be that GW intended for it just to be a drug, such as Beggar's root and it has no more significance than that. However I am fairly sure that it is likened to dried blood at some point in the text though I can't find a quote here. Thematically the books share the idea that blood is memory, and I wonder whether there is a Rust - Blood connection. They also explore in very different ways imposed religions, vampirism and mechanical/human hybrids. This isn't conclusive and the books are very different in many ways but I certainly felt that it was possible that GW was influenced by Powers in some oblique way. I fairly sure that the above is going to sound tenuous to any one who hasn't read Dinner At Deviant's Palace but I'm hoping it might spark some connections about the role of Rust. For those of you who have read it I'll be interested to hear if it also reverberated with you or this is just my own feeling. Ambergris --